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Subject: Sewer Backup = Games Destroyed? rss

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Eric Engstrom
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My sewers backed up badly yesterday and about 1/3 of my collection went underwater. I was able to salvage some of the lesser damaged stuff (cards in plastic bags, etc), but many cards and boards are soaked through. They are drying now (with some warping) and some look like they're going to pull through.

But, seeing how it was dirty sewer water, is this safe? Should I bother saving my soaked cardboard components? Does anyeone know some sanitizing steps I could take?

Thank you in advance, I'd really appreciate any knowledge anyone has to offer on the subject.
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Mark Ashton
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I live in Elmhurst; lots of my neighbors are feeling your pain right now. What a storm we had!

I have heard that microwaving board game components for a very short period of time is effective in killing mildew -- maybe it might help get rid of any bacteria that are in your games as well? It's worth looking into.

Sorry about your basement and your games.
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I have a strange suggestion that will work, but will be very difficult to find a way to do: gamma irradiation. It's used in hospitals and in manufacturing medical supplies, and it will sterilize anything as thin as a game board nicely without use of steam or high heat. The big obstacle is that gamma irradiators are very closely monitored, since the source of gamma rays is usually cesium-137—the ideal material for "dirty bombs"; so even using one without authorization could land you in big trouble.

On the other hand, massive amount of UV radiation will do the same thing, but some kinds of plastic turn brittle and ugly when exposed to too much UV.
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Miles Wentland
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bungeeboy wrote:
My sewers backed up badly yesterday and about 1/3 of my collection went underwater. I was able to salvage some of the lesser damaged stuff (cards in plastic bags, etc), but many cards and boards are soaked through. They are drying now (with some warping) and some look like they're going to pull through.

But, seeing how it was dirty sewer water, is this safe? Should I bother saving my soaked cardboard components? Does anyeone know some sanitizing steps I could take?

Thank you in advance, I'd really appreciate any knowledge anyone has to offer on the subject.


Dude do you need a hug?

I know I would after that.
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Pone McPoneface
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I am sorry to hear about your difficulties
and especially with your sewer backing up
and property being damaged and contaminated.

The general rule of thumb is to discard all
porous materials that have become
contaminated by sewage, especially cardboard
boxes, paper items, books and magazines,
carpets and rugs, unfinished wood, wallboard,
upholstered items, and anything else that is
difficult to clean.

Sewage is pretty rife with bacteria, viruses,
and other germs.
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K Septyn
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robigo wrote:
I have a strange suggestion that will work, but will be very difficult to find a way to do: gamma irradiation. It's used in hospitals and in manufacturing medical supplies, and it will sterilize anything as thin as a game board nicely without use of steam or high heat. The big obstacle is that gamma irradiators are very closely monitored, since the source of gamma rays is usually cesium-137—the ideal material for "dirty bombs"; so even using one without authorization could land you in big trouble.

On the other hand, massive amount of UV radiation will do the same thing, but some kinds of plastic turn brittle and ugly when exposed to too much UV.


Another possibility might be a cobalt-60 source, which is often used for industrial x-ray inspection of steel parts, items that are too thick for conventional x-ray tubes to penetrate. The Co60 emits gamma rays like Cs-137 does, but I believe they're more powerful. Try a search for "non-destructive testing".
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Jonty
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Sorry to hear about your collection. I've personally known friends and families with water in their basements from this recent rain, ranging from a little seepage, to 2 inches, 12 inches and up to 24 inches. We were lucky in only receiving some seepage.
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The War Chief
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Radiation?!?!? Seriously?!?!?!shake

You really need to throw any sewage soaked games away.

If you have homeowners or renters insurance, you can file a claim and replace them. If you don't, and try to save the games, you are risking the health of you and your family.

Is it worth the risk?
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Will

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Bat Profile
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id ditch anything non plastic

homeowners should cover it....mold can get nasty and spread, best not play with poo water. shit can kill ya


always store paper stuff at least 6" off the ground and never in a basement or next to an outside window

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Chuck Meeks
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It may be upsetting, but throw out anything not plastic. I can't imagine that a lot of people would even want to play a game that has been soaked in raw sewage.

"Hey, why does the game board look like it got wet? Did someone spill a drink on it?"

"Nope... it soaked in raw sewage one night."

"HEY! Where are you guys going?"
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K Septyn
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Springheeledjack wrote:
Radiation?!?!? Seriously?!?!?!shake


Seriously? Yeah. Practical? Oh hell no.
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Gláucio Reis
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Throw away the wood, paper and cardboard components, but keep the plastic miniatures. Someone might be happy to take them away from you. whistle
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Lots of shamefully bad and dangerous advice ITT. Throw all of it out. Keep the plastic parts? No, the people recommending this are not nearly as clever as they think they are. Most plastics are much more porous than what's readily apparent. Are they made of silicone? Unlikely. Toss 'em.
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Jordan Fraser
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Hahaha... Only on BGG do people suggest radiation as a 'cleaning method'. I swear, the most interesting (and strange?) people in the world frequent this site. Always entertaining.

To the OP - my heart hurts for your boardgame loss, but everything should probably be disposed of. Are you covered by insurance for this type of incident?
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Gláucio Reis
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Kiraboshi wrote:
Lots of shamefully bad and dangerous advice ITT. Throw all of it out. Keep the plastic parts? No, the people recommending this are not nearly as clever as they think they are.

Wow! No need to offend people who have a different stance, dude. I got a bunch of Descent miniatures from a friend in a similar situation and left them for a day or two in a cleaning and sterilizing solution. It was a flood, not a sewer problem, but I suppose there might be some sewer water in there, as well. Anyway, I will be pretty happy to use the miniatures with my 2nd edition and conversion kit.
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Liquidus
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All paper based products should be tossed. If you have homeowners/renters insurance take many pictures of the destroyed items FIRST before tossing. Don't be stingy on the pictures, better to have to much documentation than not enough. Definitely speak with your insurance agent before pitching anything that has been ruined.

Sorry to hear about your basement, if it makes you feel any better, two years ago a rare tornado ripped through my town (Montana is not known for such issues) and flooded my home, it ruined half of my comic collection and a few hard-to-find RPG games, boardgames, as well as most of my stored books. After various types of drying the final conclusion was that I'd be keeping useless collectibles and memories for the sake of not letting go. No amount of trying made any paper based product salvageable or usable. It really sucks and I totally feel your pain. Hopefully nothing hard to find was ruined. I promise the pain will subside and it'll actually make it easier to offload things in the future, it did for me!

Best of luck.
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Kiraboshi wrote:
Lots of shamefully bad and dangerous advice ITT. Throw all of it out. Keep the plastic parts? No, the people recommending this are not nearly as clever as they think they are. Most plastics are much more porous than what's readily apparent. Are they made of silicone? Unlikely. Toss 'em.


pffft.

you dont need to be clever to use 69 cents worth of bleach to clean and sterilize inert material.



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GSReis wrote:
Kiraboshi wrote:
Lots of shamefully bad and dangerous advice ITT. Throw all of it out. Keep the plastic parts? No, the people recommending this are not nearly as clever as they think they are.

Wow! No need to offend people who have a different stance, dude. I got a bunch of Descent miniatures from a friend in a similar situation and left them for a day or two in a cleaning and sterilizing solution. It was a flood, not a sewer problem, but I suppose there might be some sewer water in there, as well. Anyway, I will be pretty happy to use the miniatures with my 2nd edition and conversion kit.


You don't have a "different" stance, you have an ill-informed stance. This might still occasion only courteous disagreement from me, but it happens to be a health issue. Therefore, it's important that people like you shut up in favour of those who actually know what they're talking about.
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Altair IV wrote:
Kiraboshi wrote:
Lots of shamefully bad and dangerous advice ITT. Throw all of it out. Keep the plastic parts? No, the people recommending this are not nearly as clever as they think they are. Most plastics are much more porous than what's readily apparent. Are they made of silicone? Unlikely. Toss 'em.


pffft.

you dont need to be clever to use 69 cents worth of bleach to clean and sterilize inert material.


Good luck with that. Ironically you'd be much more successful in this if the components were made of paper or wood (the materials people are saying to toss), since those materials are wettable and they would become saturated with the bleach solution. The plastic is not wettable but has a micro-porous surface that traps minute air bubbles around any pathogens in the recesses so that in effect they are not exposed to the bleach at all.
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Gláucio Reis
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Kiraboshi wrote:
You don't have a "different" stance, you have an ill-informed stance.

Either way, it doesn't make me more or less "clever" than you, genius.

Quote:
This might still occasion only courteous disagreement from me, but it happens to be a health issue. Therefore, it's important that people like you shut up in favour of those who actually know what they're talking about.

Oh!, so you know what you are talking about. Immersing the plastic pieces for days in a sterilizing solution is not enough? Source, please? Even if you are right, please, there is no need to act like an arrogant jerk.
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GSReis wrote:
Immersing the plastic pieces for days in a sterilizing solution is not enough?

As I explained, you're not really immersing the bacterial spores, which may be quite content to wait their chance for weeks or even months. Calling household bleach a "sterilizing solution" may be a good approximation for many commonplace circumstances, but it won't affect the eggs of some parasites found abundantly in sewage (even in developed countries, because the parasites themselves produce their eggs so voluminously).
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Chris in Kansai
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With any plastic pieces I'd scrub them in bleach or alcohol, keep them in near-boiling water for ten minutes or so then leave them in strong sunshine for a few days.

It might not be perfect but I'd say they'd be cleaner than your average household surface or public space, and anyway when playing with others you never know where their hands have been before touching your game bits!



Good luck and I feel your pain!
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Pete Yarrow
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Im sorry for your loss but I personally would go down the 'House and Contents Insurance' path, providing that you do have that type of insurance.
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Kevin Brown
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Chrysm wrote:
With any plastic pieces I'd scrub them in bleach or alcohol, keep them in near-boiling water for ten minutes or so then leave them in strong sunshine for a few days.

It might not be perfect but I'd say they'd be cleaner than your average household surface or public space, and anyway when playing with others you never know where their hands have been before touching your game bits!


Good luck and I feel your pain!


What you say should work, but some stuff is tougher than that. Cryptosporidium cysts will chuckle at any household Cl you toss at them and can last a good 20 minutes in boiling water. I've worked around sewage more than I care to think about in my life. It's shitty.
Yes, the stuff can be made safe. I'd toss it.
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